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Sun, Sea and Sandflies

Paihia, New Zealand

Helen and I set off on our Stray trip upto the Bay of Islands at 7.50am, our Dad aka Nick waited with us outside ACB until our coach arrived. At this time in the morning there seemed to be quite a few strange looking people wandering the streets after a night on the tiles, including many he/she's and other specials!

The idea of going on the Stray bus was to meet lots of people and socialise with others but in actual fact we both spent the whole journey sleeping, think we were still recovering from jet lag! The first day was spent travelling up to the Bay of Islands and stopping off at the Marine resort which had a protected beach called Goat Island.

We arrived in Paihia in the afternoon and soon settled into our hostel - Pipi Patch which we thought was called "Puppy Patch!" We shared our room with a girl from Haggley, Birmingham, a Swedish girl called Malin who were both lovely and had met on the stray bus and began travelling together. We also shared with a girl from the Netherlands called Ingrid who was travelling with her boyfriend and a girl from Germany called Umpa (yes, as in Umpa Lumpa!)

Hayley set off the day before us on the Intercity bus and was staying in the Saltwater Lodge and so we met up with her in the bar next door to our hostel called bar Salty. We met a guy called Brian from South Carolina, USA who Hayley had been chatting to in her hostel. He was quite amusing, but we were so tired from the coach trip and decided to get an early night.

The next morning, Helen and I decided to walk into town and as we didn't know the way we asked a guy for directions. He seemed unsure but said he thought it was to the right, so we trusted him and went for it! We walked and walked and walked but it didn't seem like we were going the right way and so we decided to admit defeat and text Hayley to ask her the way and she said we were meant to turn left!

We eventually got into the town centre, which was a pretty little place with just a few shops but enough for a little beach town. We met up with Hayley and went and enquired about the various activities available in the Bay of Islands.

We all headed back to Hayley's hostel, Saltwater Lodge and met up with Brian and decided to go on a walk to the nearby Haruru Falls. At about 1pm we set off on our walk, which took us along the beachfront which was stunning, it felt like we were really on holiday! We eventually reached the falls and Brian wanted to jump in, despite us warning him not to because there were rocks below and even though there was a big sign which read, "caution: do not jump." Just as he was about to jump, some locals yelled at him not to jump and showed him a safer place. We honestly thought we were going to have to witness his death in front of us! He's like Mowgli from Jungle Book!

It took us ages to walk back because we decided to walk along the road instead of the track suggested and without a map we took a guess as to which way to go. We saw a jogger on the way and he told us we were going the right way but he said it was going to take us ages and we should have walked back the way we came!

We carried on walking and just a Paihia was coming into sight, we decided we could walk no further so did what your parents tell you not to do and tried to hitch a lift. Luckily, we waited no more than five minutes and got a lift with a guy who turned out to be the jogger we had spoken to earlier!

On the third day of our trip we went on the Dune Rider (more like Death Rider!) which took us up to Cape Reigna and the ninety mile beach. We stopped off on the way to look at trees (they love looking at trees here!) and then headed up to Cape Reigna, which is the furthest point north. We then went to the ninety mile beach, where we were told that we might see wild horses but unfortunately we didn't!

The bus was very jerky and made us feel quite sick, it didn't feel very safe at all. After leaving the enormous beach we made our way to the sand dunes to do some sand boarding. It was tremendously difficult to climb up the sand dunes, I kept falling down! I eventually reached the top with my body board in tow and was all ready to go and lay down on the board but because of the height I was at and the jerky bus I felt like I was gonna chuck so unfortunately didn't get to go! It was a horrible feeling - really wanted to do it, just wish I could get over my fear of heights.
We then headed back towards Paihia and stopped off at apparently the best fish and chip shop in New Zealand and this soon cured the sick feeling!

On the Wednesday we went for a wander around Paihia and met up with Hayley. We went on the dolphin watching cruise which took us through the famous 'Hole in the Rock." Although we didn't see any dolphins, we did see several killer whales which was exciting, they came so close to the boat and we got some great photos. Apparently killer whales eat the dolphins so they were probably a bit to scared - hopefully we will get to see them at some point in New Zealand.

On our last day, Helen and I decided to go and sit on the beach in Paihia while we waited for the ferry over to Russell. We were just relaxing reading our magazines and enjoying the sunshine when we saw people in Maori dress running towards us pointing and shouting. We looked into the water and saw two killer whales about ten metres away from the shore! It was absolutely amazing, couldn't believe how close they were - I'm just glad I didn't go for a paddle!

After all the excitement of the killer whales we travelled over to Russell on the ferry. We were lucky enough to see the killer whales again, apparently it's very unusual to see them as they are only seen every six weeks or so.

Later that afternoon we headed back on the Stray bus back to Auckland. Helen and I noticed that our feet had swelled up and thought it must just be sunburn but later found out we'd been eaten by sandflies! It was so painful I couldn't walk properly and Helen wouldn't help me, she just kept giggling!

We arrived in Auckland and stayed the night in Base backpackers, it was horrible! The staff were so rude and messed up the rooms we had booked the night before and we had to share a room with snorrers!

permalink written by  Susie Sue on December 4, 2006 from Paihia, New Zealand
from the travel blog: New Zealand
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Susie Sue Susie Sue
3 Trips
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Hello everybody! After spending a wonderful year travelling around New Zealand, I am now in Australia having more adventures.

Please leave me a message...nothing filthy as my parents read this : )

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